Sunday, June 20, 2010

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

In Western Sector Three, Gaia lives with her parents, permanently marked an outcast because of the burn mark on her cheek. She faithfully serves the Enclave every day, helping her mother deliver babies and then delivering the monthly quota to Enclave where the advanced babies will grow up with many privileges Gaia never had. When her parents are arrested, accused of the worst treason, she begins to suspect the very people she has served every day. Gaia decides to do something no one has ever done before, go inside the Enclave's walls. She soon discovers not everything is perfect in paradise. As Gaia uncovers secrets and truths about the life she's lived and the people she serves, she must question everything she knows.

Good: This novel was so intriguing. I couldn't put it down. This was the first novel of Caragh O'Brian's that I have read and I was absolutely floored. She knew exactly when to reveal secrets and when for key events to be placed in the plot line for the story to flow perfectly. It was fast-paced but not confusing. The themes of loyalty and trust were spun in efficiently and effortlessly.

Bad: For me endings always seem to be my least favorite part of novels and where I find my largest critiques. This one seemed very abrupt. Almost so much that I kept flipping through the last pages wondering where the ending was, the conclusion. I also found some events throughout the novel to be predictable. I love to be surprised in a novel, having many twist and turns. The big events however where not predictable and it still had many secrets and surprises.

Ugly Updates: As of now there is no information about a sequel, though I certainly would expect one after the cliffhanger ending. O'Brian has written several novels for adults but this is her first for young adults.

Rating: B+ 
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